The Volksdeutsch in Croatia in 1945 Cover Image
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Folksdojčeri u Hrvatskoj 1945.
The Volksdeutsch in Croatia in 1945

Author(s): Vladimir Geiger
Subject(s): History, Political history, Recent History (1900 till today), WW II and following years (1940 - 1949), History of Communism, Historical revisionism
Published by: Hrvatski institut za povijest
Summary/Abstract: In the last stages of the Second World War, the majority of Croatian Volkdeutsch, as a result of wartime developments, left or were driven from their homes, primarily for Austria and Germany, but also to the territory of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Italy, where they stayed until the end of the war. Only those Volkdeutsch that were not exposed to the danger of direct warfare remained in their homeland. At the end of 1944 and the beginning of 1945, the Partisan movement and the newly established ≪people’s≫ government began the expulsion of the remaining Volkdeutsch from Yugoslavia, and thus also Croatia. The AVNOJ (Anti-Fascist Council of People≫s Liberation of Yugoslavia) Presidential decree of 21 November 1944 contributed to this especially, by proclaiming the members of the German minority guilty collectively. The German population that did not escape was henceforth and immediately after the end of warfare given over to the capriciousness of the victors. After the Second World War, the communist government in Yugoslavia suspended the national and civil rights of members of the German minority. Victims of collective reprisal included those Volkdeutsch who could prove their participation in the Partisan movement, or at least support of it. The communist government of Yugoslavia no longer considered refugee and exiled Volkdeutsch as citizens of Yugoslavia. They intended on expelling the remaining Volkdeutsch from Yugoslavia. The Yugoslavian government adopted the position of forbidding the exiled and refugee Volkdeutsch from returning to the country. Most simply, along with the confiscation of German property, this created the opportunity for a radical change in relations of ownership and the ethnic make-up of society. As well, a large number of Croatian Volkdeutsch who left or were forced to leave their homeland at the end of the war were prevented from returning to Yugoslavia. One part of the Croatian Volkdeutsch were immediately exiled to Austria. Since the expulsion of Volkdeutsch from Yugoslavia due to the sealing of the borders with Austria, Italy, and Hungary on the part of the Allied occupying powers after the middle of July closed this option, the majority of Volkdeutsch were relegated to camps and forced labour. At least 10 000 to 18 000 of the remaining 20 000 Croatian Volkdeutsch remained interned in camps after the sealing of the Austrian border and the moratorium on accepting refugees from Yugoslavia in the summer of 1945. Following their release from thesecamps and the reopening of the borders, the majority of Croatian and Yugoslavian Volkdeutsch emigrated during the 1950s and 1960s to Austria and Germany.

  • Page Range: 271-287
  • Page Count: 17
  • Publication Year: 2005
  • Language: Croatian